>February 21, 2011
Oxford, Ohio – After their bye week, the Miami RedHawks find themselves tied for 11th in the PairWise rankings and have secured a bye and home ice in the second round of the CCHA playoffs.
The RedHawks, currently in third place in the CCHA, can finish no worse than third and no higher than a tie for second. With Notre Dame’s sweep of Ferris State, Miami was mathematically eliminated and cannot repeat as CCHA regular season champions. And, the only way Miami finishes tied with Michigan for second place is if the Wolverines are swept by Northern Michigan in Marquette and Miami sweeps Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.
Assuming Miami finishes third, and if the season ended today and all the higher seeds win their first round playoff series, the RedHawks would host Ferris State in Oxford March 11-13 in a best 2-of-3 matchup. That’s a lot to assume, but it’s interesting to see that Miami would face the Bulldogs who have been hard on the RedHawks over the past several years. Though Miami won last year’s season series 3-0-2, Miami is just 3-3-4 against the Bulldogs since 2007-08 including 0-1-1 this year. Miami has had a difficult time beating the Ferris State defensive system that, for lack of a better description, simply packs four men in front of senior goaltender Pat Nagle and forces teams to take low percentage point shots. If Miami faces Ferris State again, it will be critical that Miami move the puck from side to side. They won’t be able to rely on puck possession and simply carrying the puck toward the net. The Bulldogs defense collapses too quickly on puck carriers.
But, that’s still a few weeks away. Miami needs to take care of business against Lake Superior State this week, rest up during their second bye in three weeks and be ready on March 11 for whomever they face. The RedHawks need to win the next four games to be more assured of an NCAA tournament berth. A nicely rested, and hopefully healthy, RedHawks team should be more than ready to go.